Monthly Archives: June 2009

Work Experience in the UK

Work experience, whether paid or unpaid, is the perfect way to improve language skills and better future career prospects. Paid work is often restricted to the hotel and catering sectors, although providers offer unpaid placements in various fields of expertise including engineering and journalism.

Work Experience in the UK The workplace is getting ever more competitive and experience prior to getting a paid job seems to be mandatory for students these days, notes Karen Bowring, Managing Director of Professionals UK in Brighton.

“Getting international experience gives them the added benefit of language development,” she adds.

The UK is an attractive destination for students looking to combine language study with a work experience placement and many language school providers offer bespoke packages that offer students the best of both worlds. David Wilkins from United International College in London notes that their Cambridge Work Experience Programme has a definite advantage over a standard general English course.

“We have seen students’ English and particularly levels of confidence improve beyond measure and beyond anything they would have learned in a traditional class-room,” he states.

However, he notes that the new points-based visa system, launched in March 2009, has certainly shaken the sector up a little. No longer allowed to offer courses that imply team two weeks’ worth of tuition with a 26-week placement for example, providers must now offer a balanced programme that comprises 50% study and 50% work.

“From this year all courses have to be delivered at level three on the QCF (equivalent to A-Level) and the work experience can only be a maximum of 50% of the total course.”

Duncan Cameron from LAF in Brighton remains sceptical about the new system. He states that a sandwich course comprising of minimal tuition and a long-term placement was an inexpensive way to students to stay in the UK.

“Personally I think it a pity to lose this as in my experience the system was not abused and it worked smoothly.”

“The hotels got employees, students’ English improved and they were able to earn money. Further, the schools and agencies got an income.”

He predicts that enrolments will certainly dip as a consequence.

Twin Work UK, the work experience arm of Twin Group, runs several developmental programmes including the Anglo Chef and Anglo Training programme – both specialising in offering EU nationals paid hospitality or catering work. Joanne Sayer comments that both models were launched after the company identified a skills shortage in the hospitality sector and she observes that it attracts a steady stream of applicants. A new programme that Twin Work UK has launched is the Earn and Learn programme, which first the new visa rules – students receive English tuition in the morning before a work placement in the afternoon. It is still in its early stages of inception.

“We launched this because more and more students want to study and do work experience at the same time but cannot afford to do volunteer work and so they are happy to improve their English in non-specific placements, which are usually in areas that look for temporary staff. This is very new and we are just getting our first bookings for it,” Sayer tells us.

Specialist internship companies also assist international students in their quest to find relevant unpaid work experience and Bowring specialises in the unpaid work sector. She observes that marketing, communications and fashion are the most requested areas to work in.

Many providers report a Western European bias for these types of placements and Joe Solomon, Opus Programme Manager at Kaplan Aspect Career Services, notes that unpaid internships tend to attract German, Italian and French students, as well as some Japanese and Korean students while paid work is the preferred choice among German, French, Swiss, Swedish and Latin American students. Wilkins agrees and observes that other nationality groups are beginning to take interest in paid work abroad:

“Paid works is significantly increasing in demand – most significantly from Asia, South American and Russia.”

Despite uncertainty, most work experience providers remain optimistic about the future of the sector. If anything, notes Bowring, unpaid placements are more in demand than ever.

“I think unpaid placements are getting more popular, we have never been busier than in the last two months – which is remarkable given we’re in a recession.”

Meanwhile, Jane Stroud at The Training Partnership says that requests for paid work now outstrips demand for their specialist Gap Year products.

“I believe that paid work has influenced the former gap years students – students are prepared to work their way around the world earning a living, breaking down barriers and making new friends without necessarily relying on the assistance of their parents.”

The reciprocal benefits that paid or unpaid placements afford both student and host company are evident; while students gain a cultural insight into Britain’s work ethic, and may even earn money, businesses also benefit from welcoming an intern into the fold.

“A lot of companies now use work experience as a way of recruiting potential new employees, which of course can be a benefit to students with the right to work in the UK,” observes Bowring.

Have questions about this article or want to find out more about work experience in the UK and studying in England, contact us today.

Chip Shop Colleges are Ruining Britain’s Reputation

UK Scam Colleges a Serious ProblemTens of thousands of bogus students are in Britain because of the “national scandal” of sham colleges that offer courses to foreigners, accoutring to The Times newspaper.

Hundreds of bogus colleges have enrolled young people who in reality are economic migrants using the student visa route to enter the UK.

The existence of so many bogus colleges I damaging the international reputation of the education sector, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee was told. An estimated 2,400 colleges are considered by the Government to be under suspicion.

The committee was also told that there is a “cottage industry” in parts of Yorkshire and the North West in the provision of certificates of proficiency in English language to help people to obtain permanent residence.

The committee convened in early June after an investigation by The Times revealed a network of sham colleges in London, Manchester and Bradford. The Times has made available its evidence to MPs on the committee and has co-operated with the Home Office.

Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, told the committee:

“I think the existence of colleges, or so-called colleges, either exploiting students or for visa reasons has been a problem for more than a decade.”

Mr Woolas estimated that there were 2,400 such colleges. Asked how many bogus students were in the country, he said:

“There is not a specific figure that we estimate. It is best not to guess, if you can’t be sure.”

In April Mr Woolas admitted that bogus colleges had been the Achilles’ heel of the immigration system.

Tony Milns, chief executive of English UK, an organisation that accredits English language centres in Britain, said it had been aware of the risk posed by bogus colleges for about 10 years. He said that many colleges required further investigation to check whether they were genuine and providing a high-quality education.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the select committee, asked whether there could be hundreds of bogus colleges and tens of thousands of bogus students.

Mr Milns said:

“Quite easily. The Home Office and the Border Agency are well aware of the scale of the problem since 2004, when David Blunkett announced that registration of colleges would be required. It has been for many years a national scandal that anyone, whether a fit or proper person or not, can hire two rooms above a fish and chop shop and call themselves a college. It is almost unbelievable given that the world holds UK education as high quality.”

Mr Milns said that it was possible that people who had been recruited into terrorism used bogus colleges as a means of getting into Britain, but added:

“Most bogus students are economic migrants”.

As part of an overhaul of the immigration system, the Government introduced a tougher regime this year for students wishing to come to Britain. Applicants from outside the EU must prove that they have enough money in the bank to support themselves for the duration of their course, prove their previous educational credentials and be vouched for by a recognised educational institution.

Institutions that apply for a licence to teach foreign students are vetted by the UK Border Agency. Staff have to report to the Government if a foreign student fails to turn up for a course, misses lectures or changes to another course.

Don’t let the worry of fake colleges stop you from studying in England. Contact us today and find out how we can help.

UK IELTS Test Dates – July and August 2009

Basil Paterson College (Aberdeen)
Next Test Date: 20-Jun-2009

Aberystwyth University
Next Test Date: 23-Jul-2009

ELCOS Bangor University, Wales
Next Test Date: 13-Aug-2009

University of Bath
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

Queen’s University Belfast

Aston University
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Richard Language College (Bournemouth)
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Sussex Downs College (test venue in Brighton)
Next Test Date: 04-Jul-2009

Eurocentres Brighton (test venue)
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

University of Bristol
Next Test Date: 13-Jun-2009

Anglia Ruskin University
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Chaucer College Canterbury
Next Test Date: 04-Jul-2009

Cardiff University
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

Colchester English Study Centre
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

City College Coventry
Next Test Date: 23-Jul-2009

Sussex Downs College (Eastbourne)
Next Test Date: 20-Jun-2009

Basil Paterson College (Edinburgh)
Next Test Date: 20-Jun-2009

Exeter College ( Sub Centre of Mayflower College)
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

University of Glasgow
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Guildford, Surrey
University of Surrey
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Harrogate Language Academy
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

Harrogate Language Academy (Leeds)
Next Test Date: 29-Aug-2009

University of Liverpool
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

International House London
Next Test Date: 23-Jul-2009

Eurocentres Lee Green
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Southwark College – London
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

University of Westminster
Next Test Date: 23-Jul-2009

Middlesex University
Next Test Date: 04-Jul-2009

Wimbledon School of English
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Eurocentres London Central (test venue)
Next Test Date: 27-Jun-2009

British Institute of Technology and E-commerce, London
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

University of Manchester – Language Centre
Next Test Date: 22-Aug-2009

Anglia Ruskin University (Norwich)
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

University of Nottingham
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

King’s School Oxford
Next Test Date: 25-Jul-2009

Mayflower College of English (Plymouth)
Next Test Date: 27-Jun-2009

Language Specialists International (Portsmouth)
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

Warwickshire College
Next Test Date: 27-Jun-2009

Sheffield Hallam University
Next Test Date: 12-Sep-2009

University of Southampton
Next Test Date: 11-Jul-2009

City of Sunderland College
Next Test Date: 08-Aug-2009

How to Look for Student Part-Time Jobs!

Some of you may find it is quite hard to start looking for part-time jobs when you are international students. I completely understand how you guys feel. Five years ago, I was here to start my post Graduate degree at university in London. I made it and I am about to tell you guys how to find your part-time jobs as you are an international student. It is not easy but you I hope it helps.

Unless your family is very wealthy, most international students expect to work whilst they are studying in the UK. As we have known that the living costs here are very expensive. Part-time jobs are commons among international students. However, Rule is rule—never work more than 20 hours per week. The home office is very strict about it and it is not good if you want to acheive what you come to do ( study) in the UK.

First, I advise you to write down anything you can do such as Nanny, waitress, cleaner, office admin, bar maid, telesales, shop asssistants, cashier etc. You may find that your friend may be able to do jobs that you can not do. For example, While my friend was applying for nanny and cleaner, I applied for telesales and barmaid. I knew that I can not clean and I can not deal with kid- I might hurt them as I am so clumsy. My friend was completely no skill about talking on the phone and she hates smoke ( we talk about before smoking ban). The advantage of student part-time work is it is part-time and you can change it if you do not like it. However, you require to work hard in any job as it is very competitive. With the cheap labour from Eastern Europe, employers have more choices than ever therefore when you get a chance to work, Do you best and give 110%.

Second, I advise you to have personalised CV and cover letters for different types of job. For example, You may decide your possibilities that you would work in 1) catering business as waitress, bar work, work in the kitchen, work in the hotel. 2) Telesales and 3) shop assistants. You need to have different CVs for different jobs. I do not mean that you should lie about your experience. What I mean is just look for the real you whatever you have done before that related to the jobs that you want to apply. Also, too much information will not help with some jobs.

Last put yourself out there in the market. With the internet era, it is free to send applications as much as you can. Remember! it is number game – the more you submit, the more people will see you.

Student Dropouts Highest in Scotland

Students in Scotland are more likely to drop out of university than elsewhere in the UK. Despite a small improvement on last year, the student dropout rate north of the border is 10.9% compared to the UK average of 9%, figures released recently by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed.

Of all 18 universities in Scotland, student dropouts were highest at the University of the Highlands and Islands, at 28.2% and Napier University in Edinburgh came second, had a student dropout rate of 16.0%. The best scoring university in terms of percentage of dropouts was St Andrews, with 1.8%, second was the Glasgow School of Art with 2.0%. Edinburgh scored a dropout rate of 4.6% and Glasgow 8.0%.

The University and College Union claimed that the wide fluctuations in student dropouts were the result of wide recruit bases of the universities; students from poorer backgrounds have been labelled as more likely to dropout due to financial constraints.

Whilst there has been improvement against last year’s figures, the change is marginal. In 2008, 11.0% of students dropped out in Scotland compared a UK average of 8.8%. In 2007, the percentage of dropouts in Scotland was a staggering 12.0%. The figures really do highlight the need for more to be done to ensure students complete their further education programmes.

Tony Acton of the University and College Union had the following comment on the issue of student drop outs:

“It tends to be the institutions that recruit people from poorer backgrounds that tend to have the higher drop-out rates. More resources should be put in for support when you are recruiting from poorer backgrounds.

“Those who go to university and have a family history of university tend not to drop out because they have more support.

“The Scotland-wide issue is that Scotland has recruited more people into higher education from different backgrounds, so that tends to mean that you are not recruiting the very top people all the time, so that wide recruitment probably contributes to the fact that Scotland has higher drop-out rates.

“But the first factor is financial. People drop out because they haven’t got money and what we need to concentrate on is giving more students support while they are at university, especially in the time of recession when getting a part-time job and getting a loan from a bank is more and more difficult.

“With the University of the Highlands and Islands, it might be that distance learning courses have a bearing, but it is difficult to say why that is happening.”

A University of the Highlands and Islands representative had the following to offer in response:

“The performance indicator quoted is for young (under-21) full-time degree entrants.

“Around 60% of our students are part-time and 72% are 21 or over, so this constitutes a relatively small window on UHI.

“Nonetheless, it is part of our mission to provide access to university-level education to as many potential students as possible, especially those who are not in a position to move away from home to study at a traditional university. For example, many of our students come from backgrounds where there is no history of university-level education in their family.

“In these circumstances, it is to be expected that some of these students will decide not to continue their studies, for a wide variety of reasons. This includes students who, subsequent to starting their course, find full-time employment – which for them is a very positive outcome.

“Of course it is of concern to us that the non-continuation rate among this particular group of students stands at around 33% and we are taking action to address it.”

Drop-out rates
Aberdeen 6.9%
Abertay 5.1%
Dundee 6.6%
Edinburgh College of Art 5.2%
Edinburgh 4.6%
Glasgow Caledonian 12.3%
Glasgow School of Art 1.8%
Glasgow 8.0%
Heriot-Watt 9.2%
Napier 16%
Queen Margaret 9.4%
Robert Gordon 9.3%
Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama 7.1%
St Andrews 2.0%
Stirling 6.6%
Strathclyde 9.2%
UHI 33.1%
West of Scotland N/A

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Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival 2009

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Sun, sea and sand. The key ingredients for any great holiday. But what if you could also add chilled wine, sophisticated beats and sexy people? This is the winning formula of acclaimed DJ Gilles Peterson and he’s back with a splash in the fishing resort of Sete, South France from July 2 – 5. With something for party heads of all ages, this festival is one not to miss and thankfully not a spot of mud in sight. Oh no. Leave the glow sticks and wellies at home; shorts and a smile are all that’s required.

The action takes place in Sete, a picture-perfect fishing resort for four days in July. Don’t let the quaint scenery fool you as Sete has a selection of breath taking venues, from amphitheatres on the Med, to beach bars and a huge outdoor venue surrounding a lighthouse. Peterson is king of the vibes and this year won’t disappoint with an essential selection of jazz, electro and genre-busting artists such as Jazzanova, Earl Zinger, Carl Craig, Diplo, Laurent Garnier and the list goes on! Still not convinced? Well, you’ll be sharing the vibe with 4,000 other chilled, like-minded party heads too.

In its fourth year, Peterson’s Worldwide Festival is definitely for genuine music enthusiasts looking for modern, hip and new sounds. Place your trust in Peterson, like so many of his dedicated listeners on BBC Radio 1 have for years and enjoy the crème de la crème of the worldwide music scene. From Brazilian bossa nova, to French folk, Scandinavian modern jazz and funky electro, there’ll be plenty of music with a personality on offer.

Getting to Sete from the UK couldn’t be easier. One and a half hours from London Stansted to Montpellier on a budget airline should do the trick. And if you are a real jazz head, you could plan to spend some extra time in Montpellier either side of the festival – some of France’s hottest jazz can be found there. Sete is only a 20 minute train wide away.

Sete has plenty of hotels to choose from but if you’re missing your tent during the festival season, camping is also available! Many people do choose to stay at one of the many campsites and often end up partying day and night.

When not dancing the night away, be sure to visit the old harbor and you might even be lucky enough to find Gilles himself, with famous artists in tow, looking for people to play football with. All you need is a relaxed attitude and a serious party hard approach!
We all know how rubbish the British weather can be so how could you not want to take one of the best holidays of your life? I’ll be there for sure.

Artist List

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    Laurent Garnier live
  • Gilles Peterson
  • Diplo
  • Todd Terje
  • Theo Parrish
  • Carl Craig
  • Jimi Tenor live
  • LeFtO
  • Mocky live
  • Sébastien Schuller live
  • Soil & “Pimp” Sessions live
  • Earl Zinger
  • Principles Of Geometry
  • Stereotyp’s KU BO Project
  • Fuzati
  • the bPm
  • Sundae
  • Son Of Kick
  • Jazzamar
  • Elan Mehler live
  • Dorian Concept live
  • Martyn
  • Aline & Da Vince
  • Garfld
  • DJ Suv
  • Boozig aka Velcon
  • James Stewart
  • Michael Rutten
  • Trus’me
  • DJ Oil
  • Shuya Okino
  • Jazzanova
  • Fulgeance live
  • dOP live


There is a choice of tickets available, depending on how many days you want to stay for. All prices include booking fee:
Four days: £115
Three days: £92

More details on how to purchase tickets will be added shortly.

Full Programme

Thursday 02/07/09

ACD BEACH: 12pm-6pm
For the perfect warm-up come and relax at the ACD before the official start of the festival
Paul Brisco
Guy Lamour

PHARE DU MOLE: 6pm-5am
Talent Search Winner
Principles of Geometry
Theo Parrish
Stereotyp’s Ku Bo Project live

Friday 03/07/09

ACD BEACH: 12pm-6pm
Son of Kick

THEATRE DE LA MER: 7.30pm-11.30pm
Elan Mehler live
Sebastien Schuller live
Soil & “Pimp” Sessions live
PHARE DU MOLE: 11pm-5am
Dorian Concept live
Carl Craig

Saturday 04/07/09

ACD BEACH: 12pm-6pm
Aline & Da Vince

THEATRE DE LA MER: 8pm-11.30pm
Mocky live
Jimi Tenor live

PHARE DU MOLE: 11pm-5am
Fulgeance live
Laurent Garnier live

Sunday 05/07/09

ACD BEACH: 12pm-4am
James Stewart
Shuya Okino
Dj Suv
Michael Rutten
DJ Oil
Todd Terje
dOP live
Gilles Peterson + Earl Zinger

International Student Festival and Study Fair 2009

Next Event: Saturday June 20th 2009, 11am – 5pm

Each year hundreds of thousands of international students flock to the UK enticed by the huge variety of courses on offer at universities, colleges of higher education and further education institutions nationwide.

Finding the best university or college for you can be a bit daunting, not to mention deciding on the right course!

Don’t worry – help is at hand!

The Summer International Student Fair takes place in Covent Garden, London on the 20th June 2009.

Universities and colleges throughout the UK will be on hand to answer your questions on the British Higher Education system and give invaluable advice on the many courses on offer.

Representatives from the UK Border Agency (including Visa Services) will also be exhibiting. They will give general advice on the visa process and the tiers of the new points-based system.

If you are considering becoming a student in the UK then don’t let this opportunity pass you by!


Pick up your free Hotcourses magazine and British Council guides to UK education.

Win £500 towards your course fees, a laptop computer and two return flights to any city in Europe!

Getting There

The Fair is held at the:
New Connaught Rooms
61-65 Great Queen St,
London, WC2B 5DA

5 Minutes walk from Covent Garden (Piccadilly line) and Holborn (Piccadilly and Central lines) tube stations.

Win Prizes

There will be plenty of great prizes to win on the day, including:

1. A laptop
2. £500 towards your courses fees
3. 2 x return flights to anywhere in Europe

And plenty more!

Plus all attendees will receive a free Hotcourses goody bag!

The following institutions will also be exhibiting on the day:

* » Association of Business Executives
* » Bath Spa University
* » BPP Holdings Plc
* » Birmingham City University
* » British Accreditation Council
* » Cavendish College
* » College of Technology, London
* » INTO
* » Kaplan Financial
* » Kensington College of Business
* » Leeds Metropolitan University
* » London Metropolitan University
* » London School of Commerce
* » London School of Management
* » London School of Management and Science
* » London South Bank University
* » Middlesex University
* » NIDO
* » Northumbria University School of Design, London
* » Queen Mary, University of London
* » Regent’s College London
* » South Thames College
* » Study Overseas Global
* » St Mary’s University College
* » St Patrick’s College London
* » The London College UCK
* » Tasmac London School of Business
* » Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
* » UK Border Agency
* » UNITE Student Accommodation
* » University of Bedfordshire
* » University of Bristol
* » University of Buckingham
* » University of Derby
* » University of East London
* » University of Kent
* » University of Gloucestershire
* » University of Northampton
* » University of Reading
* » University of Surrey
* » University of Westminster
* » Uxbridge College
* » West Thames College

Watch this space as the list of exhibitors is growing weekly!

To book  your free tickets for this event, visit: Hot Courses

Immigration Adviser Jailed over UK’s Biggest visa Fraud

The BBC reports that three people who ran an OISC immigration consultancy business in West London have been jailed today over one of the UK’s largest ever visa scams.

Rakhi Shahi, 31, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, handling criminal property and immigration offences at Isleworth Crown Court.

Jatinder Kumar Sharma, 44, her husband, admitted his part in the scam in March.

Neelam Sharma, 38, also thought to be Sharma’s wife, was found guilty of handling some of the cash in the scam. But she was cleared of conspiracy to defraud and immigration offences.

Both women had denied the charges. All three lived in Clarence Street in Southall, from where they ran their consultancy Univisas.

Shahi, an illegal immigrant, was jailed for eight years while Neelam Sharma was jailed for four years for money laundering.

Jatinder Kumar Sharma was jailed for seven years.

He admitted seeking or obtaining leave to enter or remain in the UK by deception, possession of identity document with intent, conspiracy to defraud, possessing criminal property and two counts of theft.

The court heard he has been married to Neelam Sharma for about 20 years and recently also married Shahi. Both marriages took place in India.

Sentencing Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson said the criticisms of the government agencies were “plainly well founded”.

“The checks were woefully inadequate and frequently non-existent.

“You (the defendants) saw the weaknesses in those systems and dishonestly exploited them.”

The group created thousands of bogus documents including college degree certificates, tax and wage forms, references and academic records, to secure UK visas including student visas.

The scam exploited the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, the International Graduate Scheme and other leave-to-remain visa applications.

Police suspect the company secured visas for at least 1,000 people, mostly from the Indian sub-continent, using a network of bogus colleges in London, Manchester, Bradford and Essex.

Eight Pakistani terror suspects who were arrested earlier this year during raids in Manchester and Liverpool are also thought to have used a similar scam to gain UK visas.

The UK Border Agency, the Home Office and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) were criticised for a “shambolic” system which the fraudsters exploited.

Prosecutor Francis Sheridan told the court the evidence against the trio presented a “damning indictment” of failures of the UK’s border controls.

The court heard Home office employees failed to spot discrepancies in employment certificates and wage slips and that some students appeared to have attended two full-time courses simultaneously.

Several applicants gave the same address and in one case one person’s sex changed in the middle of the immigration process.

Last February the Metropolitan Police and the UK Border Agency raided Univisas’ office and found 90,000 documents, including false university certificates and pay slips.

Officers also found passports, 150 ink stamps and £22,500 in cash and seized 980 individual files.

The court heard the fraudsters charged hundreds and thousands of pounds as fees and were confident enough to offer a money-back guarantee to clients.

The scam garnered more than £1.5m in two years, of which police have so far been able to seize £420,000.

Jatinder Sharma was caught when he offered to get an undercover newspaper reporter a post-graduate diploma in business administration and other papers for about £4,000.

Following the verdict Tony Smith, the regional director of the UK Border Agency, said:

“This was one of the largest joint investigations ever undertaken by the UK Border Agency and police.

“We believe we have cracked a major international conspiracy to facilitate the entry of illegal immigrants into the UK.

“Those behind it showed total disregard for the law, and their motives were purely financial.”

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